Questions for Littles: Which of Noah’s sons went out of the ark with him (v18)? Who was the father of Canaan? How much of the earth was populated from these three sons (v19)? What work did Noah do now, that he was no longer building the ark (v20)? What did Noah drink enough to become in v21? What did he do when he was drunk? What does v22 call Ham again (cf. v18)? What did Ham see? What did Ham do? What did Shem and Japheth do in v23 that Ham had failed to do? What did they not see? What did Noah learn in v24? Who was his younger son who had done that? But whom does he curse in v25? Whom does he bless in v26? And whom does he make Shem’s servant? Whom does he bless in v27? And whom does he make Japheth’s servant?In this week’s Old Testament reading, we are quickly reminded that God’s covenant of grace with man is certainly dependent upon grace, and not upon the godliness of man.
Noah, whom v19 makes sure to remind us is the father of us all, drinks himself drunk. He was to take dominion of the earth, and he does proceed to tend the ground. He does well, and produces grapes and wine. But, he uses it in such a way that the wine takes dominion of him, and he leaves himself naked.
This shame closely parallels the description of the fall of Adam in chapter 3, where his realizing that he is naked is the very first consequence of his sin.
Let us note how readily our sin wounds us at our very hearts! Noah was to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with image-bearing, sacrifice-offering, God-worshiping offspring. But his own sin becomes the occasion upon which sin also traps Ham.
How easily sin ensnares us! Shem and Japheth understand the danger of it, even walking backwards to cover their father so that they won’t even see his nakedness for a moment. Are they silly prudes? No! They are appropriately cautious sinners, guarding the heart through the gate of the eye. Consider the blessing that came upon them as a result!
Now, this is an important thing for us to weigh. Obviously, God’s mercy and salvation are only by grace. The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth (8:21). But there are genuine consequences to sin. Ham should have been a blessing to his son, but his action resulted in a curse being called down upon him.
As the Israelites prepared to enter a land riddled with wicked Canaanites, Genesis 9 sounded a great alarm: these Canaanites got to be this way because they were children of their father, Ham. They are bearing their family resemblance!
Sadly, the Israelites did not heed the warning, and their history became one of generational sins from which they could not escape. Will we heed the warning? Shall we not be quick to repent, warning our children of the danger of following the example of our sin, and pleading with the Lord to spare them?!
From which of your sins would see your children spared? Have you confessed this to them and to God?Suggested songs: ARP78B “O Come, My People” or HB255 “O Come, My People, to My Law”